Happiness verses Productivity

442 words

The basis of Onya is pretty simple. We spend half our waking life at work so how about you help your mates be happy there.

But then I started thinking about the idea of happiness in general and some of these facts made me less than happy.

But does happiness make you more productive? We all say sure. Industries, dang it countries, are built on the premise of finding enjoyment from your work. There is the sense of duty to provide that drives us all but we now expect more. There wouldn’t be gainfully employed Funconsultants and LIfe Coaches if we didn’t expect positive vibes from work at least some of the time. When we feel good we work harder for the company which is making us feel good. Capitalism summed up as a Sesame Street quote but there it is.


Some studies show job happiness, or satisfaction for the sake of another word doesn’t lead to productivity. They are in fact happy because they are unproductive. They work in a company that underperforms so they, in turn, underperforms so everyone is happy enough. A clock in, tune out, get paid. So contentment at work is dragging the company to meh.

How can you define work happiness when you can’t define happiness? Without getting too far into Aristotle here moments are different for everybody. We don’t even see the colour red the same.

So how are we to gauge what is happy then have that replicated across a team or a company? Personally, my answer would be doughnuts but that’s for another time.

Customer facing folks need to engage cheerfully. Need to ensure customers will return and no one buys from a Derek Downer or Georgie Grumpy. But does a physicist? Or a meatpacker?

Lawyers working in a good mood are much worse at picking out deceptions when negotiating. Angry people find better outcomes than people who are happy. Jerks works.

Extending the idea there is also a problem of people expecting work to make them happy.

If you find happiness from expected outcomes in work then you will be affected badly when you don’t get the expected emotional response in life which is a lot less regulated.

Negative setbacks become personal. Then you move your personal life satisfaction into a job where everything becomes a series of tasks to be completed. Then what if you lose your job?The answer probably is again doughnuts.

When helping your friends find a new job remember they don’t need to be happy all the time. Content is great with the occasional burst of joy. Or maybe that is what happiness is? Dammit back to Aristotle.